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Flu jabs

Flu occurs every year and most people usually recover within a week, but for some, the disease can be dangerous and increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death.

But this is anything but a normal year. There has never been a more important time to make sure you, and those you care for, are protected against serious illnesses such as the flu.

 

Free flu jab

Flu can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. Keep your guard up against flu with the flu vaccine. It’s free for everyone who is at increased risk including:

  • pregnant women
  • everyone who has long-term health condition like a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes
  • carers
  • frontline health and social care staff
  • everyone aged 65 and over
  • people in long stay residential care homes
  • anyone who has been shielding and members of their household

If you’re aged 50-64, you can now contact your GP or Pharmacist about getting your free flu vaccine.

Children

This year, the following groups of children are being offered the flu vaccination:

  • all 2 to 3 year old children who will receive a quick and painless nasal spray rather than an injection - this is given by your practice nurse at your GP surgery
  • all children in school years up to and including year 7 - parents will be asked permission for their child to get the free nasal spray vaccination at school
  • children over 6 months of age who have a health condition such as a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, neurological condition or lowered immunity - if they are under 2 years old this will be given by injection
  • if you are pregnant, having the flu vaccine will protect you and your baby

FAQs

What about the nasal vaccine?

The nasal vaccine contains a highly processed form of porcine gelatine. The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable.

Some faith groups accept the use of gelatine in medical products - the decision is up to you. Find out more about vaccines with porcine gelatine

Alternatives may be available, speak to your healthcare provider.

Where and when to get the flu jab

It’s best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn. Remember that you need a flu jab every year as the flu virus can change from year to year.

The flu jab is free for everyone who is at increased risk. To get the vaccination, speak to your GP or practice nurse or pharmacist, or visit NHS Choices. You can also book an appointment at a local pharmacy.

School-aged children will receive their vaccination from a trained health professional at school. For more information on children and flu vaccination visit NHS Choices Child Flu

Will the flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

The flu vaccine won’t protect you against COVID-19. But it will help protect you against flu, which is an unpleasant and potentially serious infection that can cause complications leading to hospital

admission. Helping to protect against flu is particularly important with COVID-19 in circulation because people vulnerable to COVID-19 are also at risk of complications from flu.

Is it safe to attend healthcare appointments?

NHS premises are safe, it is important you attend to get your flu vaccination this winter.

You are at greater risk of having a serious illness if you don’t have the flu jab.

Continue to follow all government advice on face coverings, hand washing and social distancing when you attend a health service. Please do not attend a GP practice or pharmacy if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Is your question not answered?

Take a look at the NHS mythbusters for more.

Last updated: 9 December 2020